Willis said the lack of a favorite son – or daughter – ensures that Baltimore will be a battleground between Gansler and Brown.

Along with its shrinking share of the electorate, Baltimore has less political clout in other ways. As recently as 2002, with the help of a redistricting plan that maximized its strength, the city's legislative delegation included 10 state senators. After the next election it will have five and share a sixth with Baltimore County.

For an eight-year period between 1994 and 2002, Baltimore lawmakers held the chairmanships of both budget committees in Annapolis — positions second in power only to the Senate president and House speaker. Now legislators from Howard County and Wicomico County wield those committee gavels.

In 2000, the comptroller and attorney general were Baltimore icons Schaefer and Curran. Now both offices are held by Montgomery residents.

With that political backdrop, Gansler's supporters are counting on Baltimore voters to view Brown's selection of Ulman as being just as lacking in regional diversity as the attorney general's choice of Ivey.

But Del. Curt Anderson, a Democrat who chairs Baltimore's House delegation, questioned Gansler's wisdom in running with another Washington-area official, even if Ivey does bring racial diversity.

"It definitely hurts. I don't think people in Baltimore City know who Gansler is, who Jolene Ivey is," said Anderson, who has endorsed Brown. He predicted they would be looked at "askance" when showing up at Baltimore community events or church functions.

"The attitude of Baltimoreans is going to be 'Aahhh, OK. You're running for governor. Why did you never show up before?'"

One of Gansler's top supporters in Baltimore, Del. Keiffer J. Mitchell Jr., said the campaign had sounded him out about whether he wanted to be considered for lieutenant governor before the Ivey choice. Mitchell said he declined because he didn't want to put his children through a grueling statewide race.

For his part, Gansler said Monday that he has strong ties to Baltimore and works in the city every day.

"I was a Baltimore Orioles season-ticket holder before my opponent even moved to Maryland," he said.

Reporter Luke Broadwater contributed to this article.